Sniffles and Other Nasal Woes
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What’s causing your sniffles?
Your nose has a mucus lining designed to keep it moist and clear out germs. But when that lining becomes dry and irritated, it becomes easier for it to become infected. Colds are the main reason for a number of nasal woes including sniffles, runny noses and congestion. But those nose problems can also be caused by the following:
Since these conditions all cause the same nose symptoms, it can be hard to tell them apart. But it’s important to know the difference so you can treat them properly.
Is your nose suffering from a cold?
While you can catch a cold from a virus at any time of the year, your chances go up in the winter months. That’s because people spend more time inside, confined to small spaces where viruses can be spread easily. Plus, air blowing from indoor heating symptoms can dry out the inside of your nose, making it easier to get an infection.
Symptoms of a common cold include:
And on some occasions:
Fortunately most colds are mild, so your sniffles should go away in about 7 to 10 days. But if they don’t, or if you have a fever that persists, see your doctor … it could be a more serious illness.
Are your sniffles caused by allergies?
Indoor allergies are very common during the winter months because we spend more time indoors. They are mainly caused by dust mites, animal dander, and mould. When you breathe them in, your nose becomes runny or stuffy. Other symptoms include:
Unlike colds, which usually last a week, an allergy will last as long you are exposed to what is causing your allergies. How can you tell the difference? If you have cold-like symptoms which go on for more than two weeks, you could be dealing with allergies. Allergies also don’t cause a fever.
If you think you might have allergies, just ask the Pharmacist at Walmart about products that can help relieve your symptoms.
What cold, dry air does to your nose
Dry winter air – indoors and out – can cause problems for your nose. Both harsh cold, dry winds and dry indoor air from heaters and furnaces can dry out the inside of your nose, making it raw and sensitive. Along with that comes an increased risk of nosebleeds. Keep the inside of your nose clean and moist during the winter months with these nose care tips:
The Pharmacist at Walmart can help you find the products that are right for you this winter.
Chronic nasal congestion
Is your nose stuffed up most of the time? You could have chronic nasal or sinus congestion. When this happens, mucus build-up in the nasal cavity blocks or even cuts off the flow of air through the nasal passageways. There are many causes, including allergies, sinus infections and even overusing some nasal sprays. Along with a runny or stuffy nose, symptoms of chronic congestion can include:
If your symptoms persist, make an appointment with your doctor.
Treating colds and sniffles
The common cold usually runs its course in a week. Here are some tips to manage your symptoms and help you feel better.
• Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking water, juices, clear liquids, and soups throughout the day can loosen mucus and help get the germs out. Plus, it can keep you from getting dehydrated.
• Rest up. Whenever possible, stay at home, and rest in bed when you have a cold – especially if you have a fever. This can help give your body the energy it needs to fight the infection and prevent you from spreading the infection to other people.
• Try saline drops. Using saline nasal drops or spray can help loosen mucus and soothe tender nasal passages.
Treating allergies to breathe easier
The best way to treat nasal allergies is to avoid or remove the cause. If dust mites are a trigger, for example, try to replace those dust-collecting rugs and carpets with hard surface flooring.
Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can help control nasal allergy symptoms. However, overusing some nasal sprays can actually make your nose worse, so use them for only occasional temporary relief. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the label.
The Pharmacist at Walmart can help you understand the label directions if you find them confusing.
How to treat chronic congestion
Although nasal sprays are great at clearing clogged noses, they should only be used for occasional, temporary relief. This is because overusing some nasal sprays can actually make your congestion worse. Here’s why: When you use them regularly, they cause a “rebound effect”, which means the symptoms come back. The more you use them, the more your nasal passages stay swollen.
Decongestant pills can help with nasal congestion by constricting the blood vessels in swollen mucus membranes. But again, don’t overuse them. Some people experience the jitters when using decongestants. Rapid pulse rate and insomnia are also side effects. People with chronic health conditions should check with the Pharmacist at Walmart before taking them.
A non-drug alternative is to apply a hot water bottle or hot compress to your nose and forehead to warm the sinus cavity and encourage the flow of mucus. Just make sure it’s not so hot you burn yourself!
You can also use a humidifier in your house to help add moisture to the indoor air you breathe. This will help reduce the nose-irritating impact of dry air from forced-air furnaces.
- Rhinaris® NASAL MIST
- equatetm/mc Nicotine Gum
- Polysporin® ECZEMA ESSENTIALS™
- Teva Canada Limited
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.
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